Yesterday afternoon Ivory and I rolled up our sleeves to scoop whole wheat flour and yeast. It seems like forever since the two of us have tackled a project together. She is now going to school in the mornings and on her days off, I have been sending her and Adam out to play together so that I can spend a few hours behind the sewing machine without distraction. The ground is covered with snow, Adam has taken the car to go hunting for the weekend and Sylvan was asleep, so rather than Ivory's usual lunch and nap routine, I decided that she and I needed to bake ourselves a treat: Pretzels.
She has been begging for pretzels, and while I know she means the small crunchy kind that comes out of a puffed up bag, I thought that this might just do the trick. I dug through my cook books, surprised that my giant bread book lacked the word pretzel in the index and finally stumbled on a super simple recipe tucked in the pages of the information packed book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.
Whole Grain Soft Pretzels
In a large bowl mix:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon yeast.
Stir for 3 minutes.
1 cup whole wheat flour
plus a little more flour
Kneed for 10-15 minutes adding flour until the dough has a nice elastic feel. Cut the dough into 16 same sized pieces. Roll into snakes and tie into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels onto greased cookie sheets.
Let the pretzel rise for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 450*.
Beat an egg and brush over the tops of the pretzels, sprinkle with course salt, and bake for 14 minutes.
Watch out: the pretzels can go from done to over done very quickly. Cool and enjoy.
I have never attempted to actually use my dough hook that came with my kitchen aid mixer, but I dusted it off and decided to give it a go. I love kneading the bread, but Ivory loves to sample the dough in excessive amounts, so I opted to let the machine do the work for once. I cut the dough, rolled out long stretchy snakes and twisted the first pretzel into being. “I can do that”, Ivory pipes up. She takes the second snake of dough and forms a perfect pretzel, and another and another. She and I have been baking bread together since she could manage to stand on a chair and I am amazed by this little person who is suddenly so capable.
Even later still, the kids tucked into bed, I start the process of brewing my first batch of beer. Last year, for Christmas, I bought Adam ingredients to brew beer, but they sat for months before he actually got around to making it, so this year I am going to make him a batch. With how busy he has been lately, I am sure he will not even notice that one of our carboys is missing. I roll up my sleeves, this is just like baking bread I tell myself, grains and yeast, “I can do that”.
So much later, that my eyes are hurting, I snuggle satisfied into bed with Ivory. Grains and yeast. Pretzels and beer. Yum.